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Catalan President visits Germanwings aircraft crash site, where many Catalans died

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, travelled on Wednesday morning to France in order to visit the crash site of the Germanwings Barcelona-Düsseldorf flight, which crashed in the Alps on Tuesday killing all 150 people on board. Out of the 51 passengers with Spanish passports whose identities have so far been confirmed, 39 of them were Catalans, although this figure is likely to increase in the coming hours. Furthermore, although not Spanish nationals, other victims had been living and working in Catalonia. Mas joined the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, who was also visiting the area together with the French President, François Hollande, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Rajoy and Mas flew together to France, and arrived at the crash site by road a few minutes after Hollande and Merkel.

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25 March 2015 10:15 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (ACN).- On Wednesday morning, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, travelled to France in order to visit the crash site of the Barcelona-Düsseldorf Germanwings flight, which crashed in the Alps on Tuesday killing all 150 people on board. Out of the 51 passengers with Spanish passports whose identities have so far been confirmed, 39 of them were Catalans, although this figure is likely to increase in the coming hours. Furthermore, although not Spanish nationals, other victims had been living and working in Catalonia.


Before travelling to France, on Tuesday evening, Mas decreed 3 official days of mourning to pay tribute to the victims, with flags flying at half-mast and with official receptions and meetings having been cancelled. Furthermore, he offered the services of Catalonia's Police Force 'Mossos d'Esquadra' and the medical services to support the investigation into the accident, the identifying of the victims and to support their families. In fact, they are already doing so in Catalonia, retrieving DNA samples, offering psychological and medical attention and investigating the images from Barcelona El Prat airport from before the Germanwings aircraft took off.

Rajoy and Mas travelled together

On Wednesday morning, Artur Mas joined the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, who was also visiting the site, together with French President, François Hollande, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. The Spanish PM and the Catalan President flew together to France. Rajoy's aircraft landed in Barcelona and took Mas and his team on board. They also arrived together at the crash site by road, a few minutes after Hollande and Merkel did so by helicopter.

The political leaders talked to the rescue teams based in Seyne-les-Alpes, a town near the remains of the aircraft, which are located in an isolated area with many cliffs. They all highlighted the cooperation and spirit of solidarity between all the countries involved in the accident. They expressed their condolences to the families of the victims and ensured those present that they will work hard to know the causes of the accident and to identify the victims. They also promised that the families will be duly informed and taken care of while the identification and repatriation processes are ongoing.

After the visit, Mas stated he wanted to come "out of respect" to the victims and their relatives. "As you can imagine, it has been very shocking, very hard, very sad, and very touching" visiting the crash site, stated Mas. "However, we are thinking of all the affected families", "and not only those from our home, but also all the other victims" of the accident.

Mas promised that they will do "all in their hands" to collaborate with all the investigations underway and to support the families in these difficult moments. However, he also warned that the full identification of the bodies, their rescue and repatriation "will take time", due to the difficulty in accessing the crash zone and the steep terrain in which it is located, with many cliffs in close proximity.

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  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, talks with the French President, François Hollande, at Seyne-les-Alps (by G. Sánchez)

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, talks with the French President, François Hollande, at Seyne-les-Alps (by G. Sánchez)